Friday, July 25, 2008

My Final Project Reflection

The day has finally arrived. The final project's due date. When the project was assigned 2 weeks ago, 2 weeks seemed like so much time. These past 2 weeks flew but I know my group and I did a project that we can be proud of. We created a virtual media center for Middle and High School students and focused on book reviews, teacher and student recommendations, and approved reading resources/academic tools. On that page there are links to reference websites for Dictionaries in English and Languages other than English, the Thesaurus, Encyclopedias, and Almanacs. There are also 2 slide shows that give helpful hints for writing and how to avoid plagiarism.

Technology Effectiveness:
The main portion of the project is a wiki. Within that wiki, there is a blog, a You Tube video, 3 slide shows, 3 polls, a voice thread, and a book that was created using Mixbook. A wiki is a useful way to pull together many types of resources and organize them in a logical fashion. Blogs are great communication tools. One of our jobs as librarians is Readers Advisory. By blogging about books that we or our colleagues recommend, we can provide that useful service to our students even when they are not in our libraries. You Tube or Teacher Tube videos, especially the Common Craft "Plain English" videos can sometimes explain concepts clearer than we can. Video can also be a great way to booktalk. Voice threads can provide the same service. Mixbook is a way to show comprehension without the dreaded "reading quiz."

Concepts and Ideas of Library 2.0 and Participitory Library Service:
In class we learned that there has been a shift in how people think about technology and the Library. This is definitely not your mother's school library. When the Internet started to be widely used in the late 90's, people who spent lots of time on the Internet were thought of as "addicts." Websites were created by professionals at that time. Now, almost anyone can create a website at a reasonably low cost. Chatting and social networking was also looked at as scary and pointless. There are now so many ways to keep in touch. I'm sure the founders of the 1990's World Wide Web never imagined sites like Classroom2.0, Twitter, Skype, etc. School Libraries need to be pioneers in the shift and rather than blocking sites like MySpace and Facebook, Librarians need to teach the school community how these sites can be used effectively and correctly.

Technology Issues:
The biggest problem with technology is that it is not 100% reliable. Site managers decide to update servers or do other site maintenance without notice so if a teacher plans to use that site for a lesson and it goes down, the teacher always needs to have a technology free backup. A concern is that if students are not instructed on how to use technology services correctly they can act silly and not take the lesson seriously. Just because you are not turning in a piece of paper, you are still being graded on the assignment, even though it is only found in cyberspace.

Collaboration Issues:
It is so helpful to have technology available when working on a collaborative project. Even email made things so much easier. If one person goes away, they can still be in touch with the rest of the group remotely and do the work they need to do on the project.

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